Non-disruptively upgrading ONTAP

Be sure to also check out:

How to Perform Continuous ONTAP Upgrades Without Sacrificing IT Stability

A while back, I wrote about why you’d want to upgrade to ONTAP 9.2, especially if you are using ONTAP for VMware environments. I mentioned the ability to do non-disruptive upgrades as a motivating factor.

Then, someone asked in the comments for a post on performing an upgrade… Unfortunately, the systems I have that can be upgraded to 9.2 is already on 9.2 (because 9.2 is awesome). The other systems I have are FAS3270s, which are not supported with 9.2. But, I’ll still show you how to get there. I just can’t give you screenshots or video of me doing the actual upgrade.

Before you start

Whenever you want to upgrade any software, you should do some planning. NetApp provides some tools to help with that, such as the Interoperability Matrix and Upgrade Advisor.

From the KB:

The Data ONTAP Upgrade Advisor is a tool within My AutoSupport that will provide a plan with steps and commands to successfully perform a Data ONTAP upgrade or revert. The plan also contains context-sensitive links to the following:

  • Pre and post upgrade checks
  • Issues and risk exposures
  • Data ONTAP Release Notes
  • Data ONTAP binaries
  • Links to shelf module, system, and diagnostic FW

Note: AutoSupport must be enabled and working for the tool to work. Data ONTAP Upgrade Advisor  uses the information within the latest AutoSupport available from the system to generate the plan. To enable or configure AutoSupport, visit the AutoSupport page on the NetApp Support site.

Interoperability Matrix (IMT)

Start with this first to save yourself some time and headaches. Why try to generate an upgrade plan for your systems if you don’t even know what versions are supported for your platform? In the new IMT, you have several choices in how to search:


Choose the one that works best for you.

My AutoSupport

Keep in mind that there is a new My AutoSupport interface, so be sure to check out this short video overview:

Finding Upgrade Advisor

When you open up a NetApp system in MyAutoSupport, there are two places you can access Upgrade Advisor.

The side menu:


And the “Upgrade Recommendation” section:


Once you click on either, you will be taken to a screen where it will auto-populate the cluster’s serial numbers and allow you to start the upgrade process. From this page, click next:


The next page will take you to a screen that shows your your systems. From here, you can deviate from the recommended version and select your desired ONTAP version.


Click on the hyperlinked target version and choose your desired version. Click the check box to apply to all systems.


After the version is selected, click next.

The following page allows you to specify what type of upgrade you want (ANDU is non-disruptive; DU is disruptive), as well as if you want to generate a revert plan, what file format, etc. Once you’re done, select “Generate” and a plan will be emailed to you.


In the case of my system, I can’t upgrade straight from 8.3.2 to 9.2. I have to go to 9.1 first. Upgrade Advisor will warn me, but ideally I’d have checked the Interoperability Matrix first.


I click previous, select 9.1P6 (the current latest 9.1 patch release) and click next and then “Generate.”

I’ll see a green box telling me the request was successful. Then I can navigate to t he “Upgrade Request Status” page to see the progress.


From here, I can download the plan or wait for the email to arrive. The email will send a zip file, so if your email servers block .zip files, use the download process above.

The zip file will have the PDF or XLS versions of the upgrade and revert plans for each system you requested. These files will have a slew of pre-upgrade checks for you to perform. Once those are complete, you can begin your non-disruptive upgrade, as per the guide.

Here’s a nifty Datalink video of upgrades and best practices:

You can also get more info upgrading from 8.3.x to 9.x in this post:

While that post shows upgrading to 9.1, the same process works for 9.2.

7 thoughts on “Non-disruptively upgrading ONTAP

  1. Don’t forget to check for bugs…

    I had the exact same situation some weeks ago, 8.3.2 to 9.2, and we noticed this one in 9.1p5:

    Bug ID 1058433
    Title Disruption during ONTAP upgrade on a 2-node Metrocluster configuration.
    Duplicate of
    Bug Severity 2 – System barely usable
    Bug Status Fixed
    Product Data ONTAP
    Bug Type Unknown
    During ONTAP upgrade on a 2-node Metrocluster configuration, the file-system sync
    is disabled for a short duration and then re-enabled before client operations are
    permitted. During this process, there is a possibility of an internal operation
    attempting to modify the local node’s nvlog. This leads to an assertion failure
    which causes a disruption.
    There is no workaround for this disruption.
    Access to local volumes is restored after the local node completes reboot.
    DR partner volumes are accessible after the local node performs a switchback
    operation soon after boot, and the DR partner node is booted again (as part of
    the upgrade procedure).

    Fixed-In Version
    Data ONTAP 9.0P4 (First Fixed) – Fixed
    Data ONTAP 9.2 (GA) – Fixed
    A complete list of releases where this bug is fixed is available here.

    (And yes, one of the systems was a 2-node MetroCluster… They’re abundant over here)
    Solution: we went 8.3.2 -> 9.0p4 -> 9.2

    (By now 9.1p6 is out, that also fixes the bug)

    Greetings from Northfriesland



  2. Thanks Justin,
    this is a great start to look into the upgrade process! I am reading through the Upgrade Advisor results pdf right now 🙂


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  5. Hi
    I have one query regarding OnTap upgrades. Shall we do two Major upgrades in same time (9.3 to 9.5 and to 9.6) for cluster or will wait(how many days) for stabilize/post checks if one major upgrade is complete. What is the best practice in this scenario. Please share if you have any KB related to this.


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